Sunday, September 6, 2015

Spartans are Lunatics

I don’t know anything about history.

I know that Washington wore a cool hat. And that Nero liked to play the fiddle, possibly while cities burned. And I also believe that Spartans charged screaming into combat mostly naked.

Mostly naked.

That’s not true. Spartans had shield formations, and would mash up against other armies with shields, and that whichever side poked its spears into the other side the most tended to win. But that would make for a really boring movie. So, raving maniacs with ripped-to-shreds abs. Hell yeah!

But anyway, I’m pretty sure this cinematic version of Spartans is what inspired the Spartan race. I ran it yesterday. And then I ran another 15 miles today, because my muscles were still slightly functional. They no longer are. Although the gallon of beer I drank in the past few minutes has distracted me from this fact.

Beer won’t cure any ills, but it pretends to!

But it’s a beautiful illusion, and I take advantage of it every single day. Every. Single. Day. Because thanks to running, I hurt 100% of the time.

On the morning of the Spartan I got up at about 6:30am and ate a banana. I would complain about having to get up this early, but the fact is, the asshole rooster outside the window wakes me up every day anyway. At least before a race I can feel like he’s doing me a favor. Otherwise he’s a jerk.

One of these is a jerk. The rest play cribbage.

Parking was a mile and a half from the actual race. You had to walk past a mule. No really. So in addition to the three mile Spartan sprint, you had to walk a total of three miles. I also ran three miles before the race, to get my mileage up. So nine miles altogether. The mule also ran the Spartan.

OK no, it didn’t.

The energy at the event area was ecstatic! Folks were signing waivers… Like warriors. They were putting on wrist bands… Like warriors. They were milling around with their noses in their phones… Like warriors. I can’t make too much fun of them though. Most of the people looked like they’d just rolled off the assembly line at the Muscle Factory.

I wore my running kilt, because of course I did. I just realized I haven’t written a post yet about my kilt. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?! It will happen soon. A couple folks asked me if I wore anything under the kilt.


I wasn’t going to flash all the folks behind me for a thousand feet while we crawled under barbed wire or rope. Or while we leapt over walls. Also I didn’t want thick copious mud glommed on to my balls.

Thankfully the handsome man behind me saw underwear, not balls.
Photo cr. Sexy Spartan photographers

I ran into various friends before the race started. I had an absurd starting time, and made an effort to change it. I managed to change it to an earlier time but still not early enough. I kept trying to sneak in with different pals as they left the gate, but a couple of overly cheerful volunteers were checking wrist bands with your start time. I ran alone… Like a warrior.

You had to climb over a 6 foot wall just to get into the starting corral. I like that word: corral. You definitely feel a bit like a cow about to be chewed up by a massive terrifying machine. They distracted us by making us do burpees. If you don’t know what a burpee is, suffice it to say that it makes you tired. And fat people have a lot of trouble with it.

Then we were running! Wild, and free, and trying to not break our ankles on the very uneven ground. The first challenge was some huge hay bales you had to clamber over. I guess I should include the steep hills as a challenge, as most people were walking them. It’s only been a quarter of a mile you slackers! They would not have survived in a battle. Unless they had really nice shields.

Then you had to carry a tire. This wasn’t hard. I grabbed the biggest one they had. This was once on a truck! I told myself.

Human truck
Cr. Sexy photographers

There were walls, which I flew over like a bird. You had to throw a football through a hole. I missed by about four counties. I was punished with bear crawls. Bear crawls are awful, by the way. Then you had to crawl about a thousand feet under barbed wire.

Like an idiot I actually crawled about halfway through. Then I saw other much more intelligent people rolling under them. Oh my god. I really need to stop making fun of lazy people. They are so smart. I did the rolling thing and it was amazing.

I completely forgot to mention that I was soaked in mud the entire race. That was the second “challenge”. I made it more challenging by flinging myself wildly into the mud and sinking up to my knees in it. I’m so freaking smart. Good thing I wore my old shitty running shoes. And my brand new kilt.

There was a tractor pull. Apparently by tractor they meant gnarly cement block. I was really hoping for actual tractors.

Pictured: Small stony tractor
Cr. Sexy photogs

Most of the rest of the race was some combination of crawling or climbing. We had to carry massive sandbags. I jogged with mine because I like to make other people feel bad. I jogged past a ten year old kid who was trying to drag a sandbag that was heavier than himself up a 90 degree hill. Again, I felt like a huge douchebag. That kid was awesome.

I was warned before hand there would be a “memorization challenge”. This Spartan was a college classic, so I guess they had to justify that by engaging our barely functional grey matter. My pals were joking about multiplication tables. Solving chemical equations. Curing cancer in between barbed wire and hay.

You just had to remember a word and seven digits. I memorized the shit out of those digits. I crafted all sorts of elaborate mnemonic devices to help me. F@#k, I still remember it. Oscar-137-8613. But I completely missed the part were I was supposed to recite it back. And ended up doing backwards bear crawls like the many other Alzheimer’s sufferers.

There was a lot of yelling, on my part. I like to yell at these events. It feels appropriate. I yelled in the starting corral. I yelled at the photographers. I yelled at withered old people who were spectating.

The race ended with a series of four hurdles. Most people did a lame one-handed vault. I dived over them like a ninja and rolled to my feet. Folks went ballistic at my bad-assery! Look at this ninja kilt man! I’m so full of myself.

I crossed the line and got ten pounds worth of medals.

Maybe one pound. Shut up.

Then I got my “free drink”. Turns out it was chocolate milk. Not beer.

Not beer.

All in all it was a fun adventurous time. It was easier than I was hoping, but then it was only a sprint. There are longer Spartans that have rope-climbing, and jumping over fire, and slaying rabid dragons. Not just regular dragons. Rabid ones. So if it bites you, not only do you die, you also get rabies.

I didn’t linger long after the race. I said goodbye to my friends and walked the mile and a half back to my car. In my kilt. Covered in mud. I passed hundreds of people who had yet to run the race. The sun had come out and it was hot out. I did not envy them.

I drove to a creek and bathed myself in front of a bunch of terrified children. They weren’t terrified. They didn’t give a shit. They were splashing happily. I think mostly it was the parents who were terrified at this kilted maniac who was slowly stripping off his clothes and washing them like some kind of homeless Scot.

I went to the brewery where Pixie works and “carb loaded”. She’s surprisingly compassionate regarding my self-inflicted injuries. She doesn’t at all call me a stupid idiot like most people would. She doesn’t even roll her eyes when I talk about being awesome and manly.

Awesome manly alcoholic
Photo Cr. Pixie
I say the race wasn’t too bad, but I was destroyed afterwards. I spent the whole rest of the day on the couch, and totally didn’t write this post at that time like I meant to. At some point, Pixie and I went to get deep dish pizza. The driving part was challenging with my sore, whiny feet. But it was oh so worth it.

Then today, the asshole rooster woke me up again. I ran 15 miles with Geoffrey and his lady friend M (her name isn’t really a letter, but maybe she doesn’t want her name blasted out to the world). She’s a L.U.N.A.R runner as well. They connected online and then connected in real life.

The entire time we ran, I made wildly inappropriate comments. Geoffrey said I should write all of the hilarious things that were said in this blog, but I don’t remember any of them. Oh except that at some point we were expressing our jealousy at how light she was. I said, “you’re made of 120 pounds of run. We’re made of 120 pounds of run plus 50 pounds of douchebag.” Which is true.

M is technically tapering for her marathon that’s next weekend. Apparently tapering to her is running over 14 miles at race pace. We threw in a couple of massive hills to try to slow her down, but all it did was trash the shit out of our legs. Did I mention I ran a Spartan yesterday?

I’m in a lot of pain now.

We had a massive, greasy, beer soaked lunch. I asked M to lie and tell all her friends I was charming. Then I yelled at them from my car like a stupid ass when I drove past. I’m great at making impressions. I also left a disgusting soppy surprise in the bathroom: my running shorts. What did you think I meant?

Pixie has had to deal with me alternately drinking and sleeping on the couch today. Apparently tomorrow is Labor day, and I don’t have to work? I’m 100% serious when I say that if it wasn’t for her, I would have gotten up with the asshole rooster and gone to work tomorrow. So, theoretically, I could drink all night long.

I almost can’t feel the pain in my legs anymore.


  1. Excellent blog, just the right blend of humor, realism, and self abuse. Color me inspired man, I am running now more than ever, not in a kilt though. Some guys could pull of a kilt whereas I just look like a big hairy Scotsman. I am not Crushing Pavement yet but there is a serious dent in that treadmill. I look forward to reading more of your exploits.

    1. Thanks Todd! And everyone looks good in a kilt... Especially ladies ;)